Some time ago you may remember my promoting Justin “JewWario” Carmichael’s Famikamen Rider project, a tribute to Japan’s Masked Riders with a hint of his love of Japanese import games. (The Famicom and Super Famicom are the Japanese names of the Nintendo and Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems.) Unfortunately, J-Dub, as his friends knew him, lost his battle with depression and he preceded Robin Williams in taking his own life. In my tribute I had hoped that we would at least see what he had completed, his final project that will forever remain unfinished. (I also hoped someone would finish his Scan This battle with Edward, which got me excited about a show that would have otherwise been a mild curiosity as someone who enjoyed his work because he seemed so darn into finding a bar code that could defeat Twilight in a bar code scanner game.)
We may, however, get the next best thing to seeing Famikamen Rider beyond another review show. One of Justin’s close friends, and someone who had discussed wanting to get the episodes out there, Kaylyn Saucedo (whom longtime BW readers will know as Kaylyn Dickenson and the reviewing community also knows as MarzGurl) has come up with a way to take what little footage was shot and create something new. Along with her new husband, Josh Saucedo, they’ve written a script for Farewell, Famikamen Rider (and to show their dedication they have a Japanese title, さらば、ファミ仮面ライダー), a tribute to the show that might have been and the man who created it. Saucedo had worked on the theme song to the Rider Reviews and was one of the parties involved with the planned series and as you’ll hear in the video at the end of this article, she was approached many times with this, mostly recently at MAGFest.
Like any good project, the Saucedos are keeping the spoilers to a minimum, but here’s what we know so far, with bold text coming from their project site:
- Yes, they have the permission of Justin Carmichael’s widow for this project. As they’ve said, it would be wrong not to.
- The movie will contain footage already shot for the series. In total only four episodes were shot, but not all completely.
- The main character will not be JewWario since he can’t play himself and nobody could actually play him. The Famikamen Rider himself, however, will be JewWario and the suit actor for new footage will be our old pal, and one of Carmichael’s close friends and VFX man on the original project, Matt Burkett. He will wear a modified version of Carmichael’s original costume but not the actual costume he wore. (Possibly a spare he had?)
- The unnamed main character will not become the new Famikamen Rider. While there have been many other Kamen Riders in the franchise, this was Carmichael’s project and they rightly feel it would be wrong to have someone else assume the mantle. There will, however, be a second Rider, in keeping with many versions of Kamen Rider, especially more recent offerings. Whether or not he’s our unnamed character was not revealed but going by context I’m going to say no. I could be wrong.
- The story will feature the main character looking into the Famikamen Rider’s disappearance and why he is so beloved by people. “Through him, we get to relearn the story that Justin had already set up throughout his videos and learn about how special JewWario really was to the community.“
- “This movie gives a canon explanation for why it is that the FamiKamen Rider goes missing in the first place (after the events with Doctor Holocaust in 2012) and for why he is no longer there.” This refers to a crossover MarzGurl and JewWario did with reviewer Doctor Holocaust, recorded at 2012’s Con-G.
- As of this writing they are accepting donations since they aren’t using the original IndieGoGo funds but really need props (today they reached out to the cosplayer community for help) and some equipment to help make the movie. All they can offer is credit in the movie.
- Due to their limited budget there won’t be any major stunt work outside of what might be in Carmichael’s original footage. Camerawork and choreography will take the place of that.
- “The movie is written to be both an inspirational piece for those who want to get out there and do something their passionate about, as well as being an appropriate loving send-off to the character and to our friend. While this sounds heavy and dark, the truth is that it’s chock-full of fun, funny moments that reflect Justin’s brand of humor and his passion for games and Japanese special effects shows.“
- The majority of the actors have already been cast but as of this writing not yet revealed. They also have a composer for the theme and background music. It is not planned for Kaylyn to do vocals on the theme song like she did the original show intro (another of Carmichael’s friends did the closing theme) but it is not ruled out, either.
- They will soon be asking for cameos of people cheering on the Famikamen Rider. These will be limited to one minute and I’m guessing will be part of the climactic battle.
- The goal is to get as much done as possible, hopefully the whole thing, by the 2015 MAGFest. No DVD release is planned but if there is one (and presumably ad revenue from an online posting), proceeds will go to charity, although none has been listed as of yet. I would think it would either his widow or a group dealing with clinical depression but they may have a better idea based on what they know of the Carmichaels. I was not lucky enough to meet the man.
If you want to learn more about the project, either to help or just to hopefully see it when it’s done, the Saucedos have started a project site to keep track of where they are and what they need. The script is done. It’s now just a case of filming and editing. I, for one, am looking forward to this and seeing at least a hint of what Carmichael had in mind. You can also follow the path of JewWario from Warion to Famikamen Rider to see how good this could have been.